Reparable Ruins


By Robert Behre

The Post and Courier Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Even ruins need occasional maintenance, especially when crumbling plaster could fall and hit someone.

That's why the four Corinthian columns at Charleston's Cannon Park will remain swathed in scaffolding until the end of the month.

The $28,000 job, being done by NBM Construction, is designed to ensure the safety of anyone lingering around what once was the main entrance to the Charleston Museum.

Project manager Bill Turner of the city's Parks Department said the city received a tip from a concerned resident worried about the columns' condition earlier this spring.

"Once we got up there and started looking, there were definitely some loose elements that need to be re-secured," he said.

The current work includes repairs to the acanthus leaves on the column capitals, a few crack and masonry repairs, new paint and a new layer of grout on top, which won't be seen but which will help deflect rainfall.

The museum operated on this site from 1907 to 1980, when it moved to a new location at Meeting and John streets. Shortly afterward, the old museum burned, leaving only the semicircular portico, now the main focal point of Cannon Park.

These four columns have withstood the elements for three decades, and Turner said they remain in relatively good shape, even though one has a slight lean.

"We will monitor them over time to make sure they're stable and nothing is going to happen," he added. "They ought to be good to go for another few decades."

The column work is separate from the recent addition of new landscaping at the nearby intersection of Calhoun Street and Rutledge Avenue.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771 or

Photo by Grace Beahm

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